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  IMO to support Somalia to repress piracy
16/11/2009

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos has reiterated the assurance of IMO to the Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, Mr. Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, that the Organization stands ready to assist Somalia in repressing piracy off its coast and in the Gulf of Aden, following a meeting at IMO Headquarters in London.

Also present at the meeting were the Minister of Planning and International Communication of TFG, Mr. Abdirahman Abdishukur Warsame; and the Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Mr. Abdirizak Osman Hassan.

Mr. Mitropoulos emphasized the importance of the effective implementation of the Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, which was adopted in Djibouti in January 2009, mainly aiming at ensuring co-operation among its signatory countries for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of pirates; the interdiction and seizure of suspect ships and property on board such ships; the rescue of ships, persons and property subject to acts of piracy and armed robbery; and the conduct of shared operations – both among signatory States and also with navies from outside the region. Somalia was one of the countries to sign the Code.

Prime Minister Abdirashid Sharmarke observed that piracy off the coast of his country needed to be tackled from the land side as well as from the sea. He requested assistance to halt attacks from the two main piracy networks (one in the central region of Somalia and one in Puntland) through the establishment of information-sharing centres on how the pirates operate and analyzing their money flow. He stated his eagerness to ensure that pirates were prosecuted within Somalia and stated that Somalia was reviewing its national legislation accordingly, and that he would appreciate assistance from IMO in this connection.

Mr. Mitropoulos responded that he would, in co-operation with his counterpart at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), provide the requested assistance and also that, through the technical co-operation programme of IMO and assistance from Member States, the Organization would help Somalia to establish a national coast guard.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary-General agreed to pursue the capacity-building needs of Somalia through a Somali delegation visiting IMO to specify such needs in the near future.
 
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